MMEA Central District Jazz

Dear MMEA Central District Jazz Ensemble members,

Here are links to the songs we will be performing.

1. “Cow Tippin’,” performed by the New London Big Band

This light-hearted blues in F has a ‘clippity-clop’ Western feel, reminiscent of Sonny Rollins’s ‘I’m an Old Cowhand.’ Intricate solis are included for the sax, bone and trumpet sections. Ranges are manageable, with lead trumpet going to B5 and lead trombone to Ab4. ‘Cow Tippin’ was written in homage to the cloned cattle interspersed within the herd at UCONN, where MacDonald is employed. It was commissioned and debuted by Marshall University’s Jazz 1 Ensemble, directed by Martin Saunders.

When I composed this song back in 2015, I documented the process on my blog. If you’re interested in what goes into writing a big band chart, these posts will provide some insight:

2. “Cirrus,” performed live by the Winnipeg Jazz Orchestra

Inspired by the immense prairie skyline, Cirrus is a gently unfolding, emotive piano feature with a fully-notated piano part. Despite the piece’s intense expressivity, the lead trumpet never exceeds the staff and all parts are technically feasible. Commissioned and recorded by the Winnipeg Jazz Orchestra, Cirrus is a movement within “Suite 150: A Big Band Portrait,” a collection of pieces reflecting different perspectives of Canada.

I describe the process of writing this piece in the following blog post:

3. “Chronometry,” by Fred Sturm

“This adventurous chart emphasizes rhythmic groove in a contemporary samba feel and delivers unique angular lines. Following a powerful fanfare and a flurry of contrapuntal lines, your tenor soloist and drummer duel in an open blowing section. Guitar (or keyboard) is featured over a funky stop-time solo section and the drummer swaps phrases with the ensemble at the end. Chronometry was commissioned by the New Trier Jazz Ensemble in Winnetka, Il (Jim Warrick, director) to commemorate the school’s centennial celebration.”

4. “Caravan,” by Juan Tizol, arranged by Alan Baylock

“This is a show-stopping contemporary chart arranged by Alan Baylock on this classic. The groove moves logically between an up-tempo swing, a Maiden Voyage feel, a double-time swing and a 12/8 Afro/Cuban feel. The features include plenty of solo space for tenor sax, brief written melody lines for various instruments, and lots of moving lines and sax solis. The lead trumpet range is to a D above the staff.”

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